The Irrestawra Darek scheme has provided €23 million in architectural restoration grants over three years.
A government scheme to help finance the restoration of building facades was gobbled up within an hour of applications going live on Monday.
In a statement, Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg said it was the greatest satisfaction to witness the public participate in the initiative.
We can announce with pleasure that this year, the ‘Irrestawra Darek’ scheme was taken up by the public within an hour – this means that across three years, we will have invested €23 million towards the conservation of our country’s architectural heritage, he said.
Read: the return of the scheme was announced last year.
The quick take-up, Dr Borg added, was a clear sign that the public was keen to invest in their property and rehabilitate cultural heritage.
Today was the official opening of this scheme and within seconds applications came flying in. Within 60 minutes the Planning Authority had received more than 750 online submissions with requests amounting to more than €8 million.
The scheme is now officially closed for this year when it comes to private residences in Urban Conservation Areas and Grade 1 or Grade 2 scheduled residential buildings.
Meanwhile, the PA is still accepting submissions for the restoration and conservation of streetscapes, a new category with €1 million reserved for the conservation of residences forming part of a single unique road.
So far, the authority has already received 12 submissions of this type, it said.
Planning Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius said the scheme had helped more than 1,700 residents over the last two years.
We are satisfied to see more Maltese and Gozitan families benefiting from these initiatives, he said.
Planning Authority Executive Chairman Johann Buttigieg said the PA had never seen so many online submissions.
For the third consecutive year, the ‘Irrestawra Darek’ scheme had been a success story, he said.